Sunday, January 26, 2020 1:28 pm
Professor Stephen Adebanji Akintoye, Nigerian-born academic, historian and writer, released a video recently on Amotekun, the South West security outfit.
He told anyone who cares to listen that Amotekun has come to stay. Below his his speech, as recorded on video by the Yoruba World Congress:
We are standing up to defend ourselves
This is about Operation Àmòtékún and it is from the Yoruba World Congress. Everybody knows that in the past four years, Yorubaland has been persistently attacked by Fulani people herding cattle to destroy farms, and when our farmers react, they kill the farmers and destroy their villages.
-Watch the video here
Usually, they are able to do this because they come armed with dangerous weapons or they come accompanied by people armed with dangerous weapons, like AK47 riffles, some of these people have been trained and are really militia men and not cattle herders at all.
Some of the people who come are not from Nigeria. They are people who have been invited to Nigeria to come and seize the land from the people of Nigeria. Behind these, there are threats that the Fulani own all Nigeria, will expel or banish the people from Nigeria and will take their land, and in the process, they will kill, maim and destroy.
This has been going on for four years now. At the beginning, we did not know how to respond, because we Yoruba are not used to that low level of behavior, we don’t kill, maim or destroy. We build and build. That is our character. So, when these people came, we didn’t just know how to respond. But, by and by, our people began to gather themselves and are responding in various ways. The call from everywhere in parts of Nigeria, the middle belt, the south-south, the south-east, is: defend yourself. Defend yourself is good and it is producing some results, but the ultimate outcome is scary, because what will happen is that there will be war of all, against all in the countrysides in the south-south, south-east and the middle belt of Nigeria. As one leader of Christian Association of Nigeria said that it will be a bloody war all over, as people put up a resistance to defend themselves.
So, it is a very good thing for us in Yoruba land that our governors came out and designed something that is infinitely more orderly and equally more effective in defending our land. And that is what they called Operation Àmòtékún.
Operation Àmòtékún is meant to create a small unit of young people who can defend the localities in our farmland and communities. These will be young men and women who will be properly trained, properly guided and properly supervised. This is not generalized “defend yourself,” this is defend our land through well-organised agency. We have been thankful to our governors for giving is this. All of us Yoruba people are grateful and we assure our governors the fullest support in this Operation Àmòtékún exercise
However, there have been threats from the Fulanis, one leader of Miyeti Allah group made a statement to the effect that we Yoruba will lose something if we don’t cancel Àmòtékún, as if that thing is in their pocket! They said we may not be able to get the presidency in 2023, because of Àmòtékún.
They speak as if Nigeria is their exclusive possession, as if the presidency of Nigeria is in their pocket, for them to give whoever they want.
We do not know the source of this arrogance, but it doesn’t mean anything to us, we have Operation Àmòtékún, we are grateful to our governors for giving it to us, it gives us opportunity to protect our farmlands in an orderly, predictable manner. It prevents the danger of an all-out messy war in our countrysides, and we are grateful.
We know that from talking to the governors and listening to them, we know that it is not an attack on Nigeria at all. They are not taking the jobs of the police, they are not replacing the police with Operation Àmòtékún.
Therefore, there is no reason that anybody from federal sources should be threatening the people of the south-west.
What are they saying, anyway? They would have been attacked again and again and again. Some of the highest men in our land would have been brutalized and disrespected.
We were all here when Chief Olu Falae was brutally attacked in his farm, kidnapped and taken to the bush for four days, and no federal government agency came to do anything about it. We were here when the daughter of our Father, Chief Reuben Fasoranti was killed and nobody from the federal did anything about it. In fact, no proper investigation of the assassination was ever carrier out.
So, now, are we being told by the people from Abuja that it is their pleasure that we are being killed and destroyed by Fulani marauders? I don’t think it is the place of anybody serving in the presidency or the federal government of Nigeria, to wish that any Nigerian be destroyed.
And so, we are standing up to defend ourselves, and we want to warn that this is a battle Yoruba people will fight side by side with their governors and make a success of. We are not threatening the federal government of Nigeria, we are not threatening the federal republic of Nigeria, we are not threatening the police or the secret service or the military. We are just providing for our protection in the way provided for in the Constitution of this country.
So, the battle is ‘forward with Operation Àmòtékún and forward with the Yoruba nation.’ We are not a small nation that anybody can threaten and destroy as they like. We are a great nation, we are the largest single-nationality on the African continent, we are also the most educated nationality on the African continent, and all over the world, we have powerful diaspora that is able to defend this land if it comes to that.
So, let is warn our Fulani brethren, leave us alone to defend ourselves. Better still, stop coming to our land to destroy it. Our nation is very well known for the fact that we like foreigners in our land, but we will not tolerate any foreigner who comes to kill or destroy in our land. It is as simple as that.
The battle line is drawn, you better stop coming to our land to kill and destroy. If you come, we will push you out of our land. Get that clear and straight, that is our message.
For the people who are threatening Àmòtékún from Abuja, we will recommend that you look around Nigeria and you will see that Àmòtékún is hugely popular. Other parts of the south-south, south-east and the middle belt other regions, other zones of south-south, south-east and the middle belt are already taking steps to emulate Àmòtékún.
We are told that one is already taking shape in Taraba state, in the middle belt, the Igbo people of the East are planning their own and the people of the south-south are also planning their own. This is the direction and I’m proud and happy that we Yoruba have given this direction for an orderly resistance to invasion by the Fulani marauders. It is not just go and defend yourself and kill and maim in the bush, it is orderly resistance by people who have been trained, will be well-guided with rules of engagement and will be supervised. That is a very development to barbaric war against us